Cure for Horrible Bosses

In: Business and Management

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Rosabeth Moss Kanter holds Harvard Business School’s Arbuckle Professorship and specializes in strategy, innovation, and leadership. Her latest book is Supercorp (Crown, 2009).

Kanter

The Cure for Horrible Bosses

I

n the recent film comedy Horrible Bosses, three truly dreadful managers make their employees’ lives miserable. The first is a cruel executive who dangles a promotion in front of a subordinate as bait, only to snatch it away once his stupid demands have been met. The second is a mean cokehead who inherits the family business from his kindly deceased father. s The third is an orthodontist who sexually rthodontist harasses her assistant, threatening to tell stant, his fiancée that it’s his fault. ’s The victims in the movie can’t quit. They need the jobs. Instead, they compose bs. elaborate, farcical plots to eliminate the cal bosses. In real life, horrible bosses are the stuff orrible of tragedy, not comedy. Workplace discontent is no joke. Some surveys show that as many as half of American workers feel low levels ers of work engagement, stemming ment, in part from poor management. or It’s not insults that cause the ts greatest harm, but rather callousness about people’s time. t Horrible bosses want control. s They expect subordinates to ubordinates be on call 24/7 and to hit unrealistic deadlines with limited res sources. When the work product is delivered, horrible bosses may orrible ignore it for long intervals, makong ing it clear that the deadline was at artificial and the stress unnecessary. he To minimize the impact of horze rible bosses, companies can ensure that performance reviews are based on nce objective measures, not subjective ones. sures, They can examine tasks and workloads mine for relevance and fairness. They can offer training to teach respectful behavior. They ach can police sexual harassment and make xual…...

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